People resort to drugs and alcohol as a way to self-medicate or experience a high. Alcohol is a means to overcome momentary grief and dismay. However, it also has the potential to cause mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
Given below are some of the ways in which alcohol can induce anxiety:
- Mood: Alcohol affects serotonin (feel good chemical in the brain) causing a shortage of its supply. This may cause anxiety and depression.
- Blood sugar level: Excessive intake of alcohol reduces the blood sugar level, which causes dizziness, confusion, weakness, nervousness, shaking and numbness. These symptoms can trigger bouts of anxiety.
- Dehydration: Alcohol leads to frequent urination causing dehydration in the body. As a result, a person experiences nausea, dizziness, fatigue, light-headedness and muscle weakness, similar to anxiety symptoms.
- Nervous system: With excessive alcohol use, the nervous system puts the body in a state of hyperactivity to counteract the side effects of alcohol. It causes sleep deprivation that fuels anxiety.
- Heart rate: Alcohol elevates the heart rate, thereby, causing palpitation. This may further put the person in a state of anxious anticipation.
Alcohol consumption does not necessarily lead to an anxiety disorder; however, prevention is better than cure. If someone is addicted to alcohol, it is better to seek medical intervention before it leads to other health problems. A proper diagnosis will assess the risk of mental health disorders and a holistic approach toward recovery will treat both the addiction and the mental illness.